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PC World calls out Microsoft on Windows Vista

The hatred for Windows Vista has been well documented on DailyTech and by millions of Vista users around the web. From the very beginning, many consumers took issue with Microsoft's multi-tiered approach to Vista.

Microsoft currently has four versions of Windows Vista aimed at the consumer market: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business and Ultimate. Vista Home Basic is the cheapest and has the least features, while Vista Ultimate is the most expensive and most feature-filled version.

Many felt that Microsoft should simply take Apple's approach with OS X and just include a single SKU for everyone and charge everyone the same price. Many also championed Apple's 5-user license policy with OS X versus Microsoft's "reduced" pricing efforts with Windows Vista Family Discount -- a program that ended on June 30.

In addition to pricing, licensing and marketing, many people consumers simply are disappointed with Vista's performance. Many users have claimed that Vista simply is slower than Windows XP for many operations with pesky trouble spots including networking and gaming.

Microsoft plans to address many performance-related problems/bugs with Service Pack 1, but Windows XP is getting a speed boost of its own with Service Pack 3.

All of the controversies and disappointments related to Vista were enough for PC World to label Windows Vista the #1 Biggest Tech Disappointment of 2007.

"The user account controls that were supposed to make users feel safer just made them feel irritated. And at $399 ($299 upgrade) for Windows Ultimate, we couldn't help feeling more than a little gouged," remarked PC World's Dan Tynan.

"No wonder so many users are clinging to XP like shipwrecked sailors to a life raft, while others who made the upgrade are switching back. And when the fastest Vista notebook PC World has ever tested is an Apple MacBook Pro, there's something deeply wrong with the universe."

For me personally, I'm rather indifferent to Vista -- I don't hate it, but I also don't love it. I currently own two PCs: a HP desktop with Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 RC1 installed and an Eee PC 4G with Windows XP Home SP2 (nLite’d of course). I don't game on either machine and I mainly use both for Internet, email and productivity (Office 2007 on the desktop, OpenOffice Portable on the Eee PC).

I routinely go back and forth between both machines during the day and don't miss anything in particular from either machine (feature wise) with regards to the operating system. In other words, given my usage model, I could use my Eee PC all day and not really long to be on my Vista-equipped desktop.

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RE: PC World
By AlexWade on 12/18/2007 8:48:12 AM , Rating: 1
Baseless? BASELESS! I am using Vista right now, and I weep everytime.

Why does Vista suck? Let me count the ways:

1) It is a memory hog. My 64-bit version uses 50% of my 2GB of memory not including other programs that are running.

2) It assumes too much and remembers too little. When I open My Documents (or just Documents in Vista), the default view is list view. If you restart, any customization to that folder is lost. I set my view to large icons. Without fail, after a restart, it goes back to list view. XP would remember. Vista also does a lot stuff in the background without telling you nor making it easy to turn off.

3) The SuperFetch speed tweak doesn't work. In my experience, it actually SLOWS down your system. In fact, since I've turned it off, my system is faster.

4) UAC is overzealous. Sometimes I started to wonder if I had to click a box to pee. Every little action required confirmation. This goes back to remembering too little.

5) The boot loader is confusing and difficult to use. Microsoft stated the BCD replaced boot.ini because boot.ini didn't support EFI. Fine, but why replace the simple boot.ini with an ultra-mega-super-complex BCD? The BCD is so difficult I'm not even sure a Microsoft engineer could figure it out. And documentation on it is scant. Couldn't Microsoft make an EFI compatible bootloader that was simple?

6) Ever experience the green ribbon of death? I have quite often.

7) Copying files is faster in the command prompt than in the GUI. That is because the GUI is always trying to "calculate time remaining" even if it has to sacrifice some speed to do so.

Shall I go on? The point is, I am not spreading FUD, I am spreading truth. Vista sucks, period. Vista is slower than XP, period. And I backed up this fact with proof. My only complaint with XP was the start menu, other than that I liked it. But I learned to like the start menu. There is no learning to like Vista's failure. There is a difference between a failure and a new design.

While Vista has some good qualities, these cannot compensate for its failures. I listed 7 above but I have more.

RE: PC World
By TomZ on 12/18/2007 9:31:00 AM , Rating: 5
The point is, I am not spreading FUD, I am spreading truth.

Sounds like mostly FUD to me. Maybe you should downgrade back to XP.

1. As I'm sure you know, Vista uses free memory for additional caching. What's the problem with that? Would you rather have the memory unused or used?

2a. You might want to check whether you have it set to remember your views - basically the same settings as XP. Mine remembers my views just fine. Maybe you messed with a setting?

2b. What background stuff? Vista does a lot of the same background stuff as XP. Don't you want your OS to maintain itself in the background when the CPU is otherwise idle? I do.

3. SuperFetch slows down your system? Huh?

4. Just turn it off. That option is there for a reason.

6. No, never heard of it, and I couldn't find anything about it doing some Internet searches.

7. No, that's not true. I've done a lot of testing of file copies, and the GUI is not slower. It is just perceived by some to be slower because it doesn't appear to be copying when it shows that it is calculating the time remaining. If you click to show details, you can clearly see that it is copying away.

RE: PC World
By wien on 12/18/2007 1:42:54 PM , Rating: 1
SuperFetch slows down your system? Huh?

For desktop applications it's a good thing and generally does a fine job, but for gaming it's quite likely the most annoying thing I've ever experienced.

I've been playing Crysis lately (Q6600 @3.1GHz - 2GB memory - Vista64) and I can barely move around because Superfetch is "intelligently" trying to swap pages I might need in and out from disk, apparently completely ignoring the pages Crysis actually needs. All I have to do is turn around and I get a > 1 sec stutter with disk thrashing. Turn back and the same thing happens. It does fine the 3rd or 4th time you play a level of course, because then it has learned, but for a single player linear game that just doesn't help as you progress through the game. It completely ruins the experience.

In constrast Crysis on XP (same rig) is silky smooth no matter what I do. Vista with superfetch disabled is very close to XP performance but I still get more disk thrashing than in XP. (FPS is also a good 20% lower, but I'll put that down to drivers for now)

Now I'm sure I could upgrade to 4 or 8 gigs of RAM to keep superfetch happy, but you know what? I'd rather just use XP and get better performance. Progress indeed.

RE: PC World
By Murst on 12/18/2007 2:57:53 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure you can come up with many situations where any feature of an OS becomes problematic.

However, for 99.9% of users out there, superfetch is a great boost.

If you fall into that <1% category, turn it off. It is pretty easy.

RE: PC World
By wien on 12/18/2007 3:20:51 PM , Rating: 2
It's easy for me because I know what is causing it (after some investigation) and I know where I can turn it off. Most people would only conclude that "Vista is slow".

But that's not really the point. Superfetch is a splendid idea and, as I said, for desktop applications it works just fine (Though the endless HDD grinding drives me up the wall). The problem is that the damage it does to memory hungry applications like games by far outweigh the benefits you get in normal desktop applications, unless that's all you use.

I just don't think the OS should render some applications completely unusable just to speed up applications "most people" use. Superfetch really has to get better at getting out of the way of applications that really need the memory.

RE: PC World
By Murst on 12/18/2007 6:18:18 PM , Rating: 2
If superfetch cripples a certain application, there should be an API call that the developers of the application can make to disable superfetch while the application is running.

RE: PC World
By AlexWade on 12/18/07, Rating: -1
RE: PC World
By JustTom on 12/19/2007 11:30:06 AM , Rating: 2
What is your search engine?
Very first link off google...

For example, there's a problem a lot of people have with Vista and that's what's affectionately been coined the "green ribbon of death." It's the little green progress bar that goes across the top of Windows Explorer and sometimes it just seems to linger there and everything stops working.

I like Visa, but this is something I have experienced and it is annoying.

RE: PC World
By crystal clear on 12/18/2007 10:54:56 AM , Rating: 2
"All human power is a compound of time and patience."

Be patient is the sensible thing to do ! Give it time is the wise thing to do.

By the way-did you bother reporting these problems to Microsoft ?

If you did-What response did you get ?

Ever tried using virtualizations software ?

The past cannot be changed, the future is still in your power."

RE: PC World
By Master Kenobi on 12/18/2007 4:09:08 PM , Rating: 5
1) It is a memory hog. My 64-bit version uses 50% of my 2GB of memory not including other programs that are running.

I've seen the "problem" you speak of, and your likely using the sidebar tool "multimeter". Mine swears its using 36% of my 4Gigs of ram all the time. What I also notice is that the number never really goes up. I can load up TeamFortress2 and the memory gets reallocated since dreamscene turns itself off when any graphical application is running (I have 2 monitors, I get to watch all this in real time). Yes, at idle Vista uses more memory and your meter shows it, but what it doesn't show is that the memory usage rarely spikes (Unless you run 5 games at once, which I have done.... don't ask) I can rip and burn a DVD while playing TeamFortress2 and have WoW running in the background while surfing DailyTech in IE on the other monitor... my Ram usage spikes from 36% to a whopping 50%. I can tell you that WoW and TF2 combined suck up most of that, as windows systems cut back on how much they eat because of demand.

So, to state the point of this, your looking at the right information, however your accusation is baseless because your not watching what it does over time. If you have some skills and want to see what I mean, build your own event performance template and have it record memory usage and memory usage per process, then go ahead and play some games, and check it. You will see that the game is allocated most of the memory that was previously used by the OS (with usually a little extra since games these days chew memory down like it's going out of style.... thankfully its cheap right now).

RE: PC World
By DeafMute on 12/19/2007 4:46:08 PM , Rating: 2
To my understanding, and I get this from anand's readup on vista from some time ago, in contrast to XP Vista attempts to cache everything it can (based on what you're most likely to use - which is determined by what means I'm not sure) in physical memory so that when load an app that happens to be cached it is faster. Whereas XP tried to keep your memory as empty as possible.

Sounds counter-intuitive huh? Making a great case for XP being more efficient.

What you forget is that clearing memory is instant, loading data from your hard drive into memory is considerably longer (oh let's say 60 MB/s if you have a run-of-the-mill sata drive [and that's SEQUENTIAL, whereas in the real-world it'll often be much slower since data is sometimes fragmented]).
Many seem to think that if xx% of your memory is in use when vista is idle that means that xx% of your memory is actually being used by apps currently running and therefore only the remaining % is available.
In the case of XP where idle usage corresponded more or less to what the OS needed to run then maybe yes but in Vista once you load up an app (let's say a memory intensive one like a game) whatever useful data in memory remains there, then the game uses what is left and/or clears whatever else it needs.

RE: PC World
By 306maxi on 12/20/2007 10:42:32 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. I tried saying the same thing the other week and got downrated for it. People are stuck in the old "Memory that not being used is good" trap that XP and everything before it taught us. As I explained sometimes Vista will sit using 50% or so of 2gb and suddenly when I start TF2 (awesome game btw) it suddenly drops to about 30% and then uses more and more RAM as TF2 loads up. As has been said clearing the ram is instant but loading from the HDD is slow so better to load frequently used programs into RAM than to have RAM sitting there doing nothing. Vista for me is far more responsive once it gets going than XP ever was and considering that I'm the type that leaves my PC on 24/7 that's more important to me than startup times and how responsive the PC is when it loads the desktop.

RE: PC World
By Sazar on 12/19/2007 7:16:17 PM , Rating: 2
I know this has been answered but I have to respond just because of the ludicrous nature of the "grievance"

1. Vista uses un-used memory as available to run things in the background, such as indexing. The FREE memory you have is there to be used for various tasks. I'd rather my OS work to keep my system snappy than not. You can turn off a number of the services if you want, instead of crying about it.

2. There are settings to help you with this. Just select the right ones and you should be good to go.

And what background stuff? You can turn off most indexing and other options if you are so inclined. Naturally this simply increases the amount of time you spend searching for items otherwise, but apparently speed is not important to you.

3. Eh? Super-fetch slows your system down? I read your comment about screen-savers and what not, I guess I'll have to check it out since I don't use screen-savers (powering down your display manually or with power settings is FAR more efficient).

4. Turn off UAC if it vexes you so. It's not like it cannot be turned off :)

5. It works fine for me. I guess it depends on the expectations of the user. Can't please everyone

6. If you have an issue with an application (i.e. this ribbon of death) simply go through your reliability tool and see what the issue is and resolve. It really is that simple.

7. Not in my experience and since I am doing a lot of video editing and copy/pasting files, I have to use the copy feature a fair amount... for LARGE files

I won't go so far as to say you are spreading FUD as to suggest that you don't seem to know what you are doing in Vista to the degree you did in, say, XP.

Vista is much faster for me than XP was and I can do more with it. Granted there are issues with some drivers but that is a 3'rd party issue more so than a Vista issue.

Overall, the reliability, speed and functionality of Vista is leaps and bounds better than any other OS I have used inlcuding 7.04 and 7.10 Ubuntu builds.

Having used Vista for over a year now, I simply cannot see what you are claiming to see as issues.

My usage == 100% vista usage in a large corporate environment for business work on my laptop + 100% vista usage at home on a gaming and HTPC desktop system.

I personally LOVE the operating system and I am on a Vista platform typically 12hr of every work day + about 2-10 hrs on weekends. I have plenty of time to love or loathe it and I LOVE it :)

RE: PC World
By vcespon on 12/25/2007 7:27:11 AM , Rating: 3
Vista is designed to cache stuff in RAM, and usually it uses up to 50%. If you load an application that needs a lot of RAM, it will reuse cache pages for the application. Once you close that, you'll see how the RAM usage is below 50%. I have reached 99% RAM used while using Google Earth and Photoshop at the same time, and after closing them I saw RAM usage at 30%.

UAC can be turned off and it's there for the unexperienced users.

I do not intened to mess with the Vista boot loader. If I need to fire up another OS, I use a virtual machine.

Having said that, I would like to know if someone else has seen these:

- When you delete a folder (pressing Supr), it deletes the PARENT folder of that one. Happened to me 5 times, and yes, I have reinstalled Windows.
- When you delete a folder, it fails with a message that it cannot delete certain file because it's not there. But that file exists. Indeed, if you delete the folder again, it does it.
- Copying files from a CD is still following a STUPID algorithm. If you cannot read a file, just say so, and give options to skip it, DO NOT hang the whole operating system.
- Sleep/Resume does not work well, sometimes the screen goes black but it does not go to sleep and does not wake up either, the only time I had to hard-reset the computer in years.
- You cannot select multiple files on a folder in any way. This is documented on the KB, but the workaround suggested do not work. Real solution is to delete 'bags' folder on registry.
- If I create a folder and download 2 EXE and a PDF to it, why the default view is "pictures"?
- Vista always selects whatever default view for a folder it feels like, that part of the OS is completly messed up. No matter what options you select anywhere.

I do no do gaming nor HD DVD on my computer, nor I have any intention to do so. If an OS cannot handle file manaagement properly (something that Windows 3.11 did 100% of the time right), I'm not willing to spend money on a DVD / graphics card / 1080p TV that I'm not SURE it's going to work right out of the box, without having to argue for 6 months with Microsoft and search Internet forums.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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